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Sunscreen while active

If you are out midday, then the UV index may be particularly high making your sunscreen work even harder. Read more...



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Can you briefly explain why when choosing sunscreen it's important to factor in the type of activity you will be doing?

When planning to be active, there are several factors to consider. These include:

  • The intensity of the UV during the time of day

  • Sweating

  • Whether there is an option to include sun-protective clothing as a part of your sun protection plans



SPF ratings on sunscreens are based on ideal use. This means using the right amount of sunscreen and recognizing that it will begin to wear off with time and even faster with sweating or swimming.

What should one look for in sunscreen that they intend on wearing while exercising?

If you are out midday, then the UV index may be particularly high making your sunscreen work even harder. Choosing water-resistant sunscreens with a higher SPF of at least 50 can help reduce the tendency toward sunburn or excess UV exposure.

Water-resistant sunscreens tend to last in the water, remaining effective for 40 to 80 minutes depending on the label designation. Sunscreens are not considered “waterproof” as all will eventually wear off if in the water long enough.

When sweating, sunscreen products can rub into the eyes or the sweat can seep around the eyes leading to a burning sensation that can feel uncomfortable. I tend to recommend seeking sunscreen products with fewer preservatives as well as fragrance free products. Allergy testing in patients for skincare allergies with a tendency towards contact dermatitis to sunscreen in my experience tends to be from inactive ingredenietns as opposed to active ingredients.

What are some ingredients one should try to avoid in a sunscreen that they intend on wearing while exercising?

Try to seek Zinc or Titanium-based sunscreens as these provide physical blockage from UV. They also tend to be less irritating to the skin and eyes when sweating.

The key features I look for are

  • Zinc as the active ingredient

  • Water-resistant

  • At least SPF 30

What are some sunscreens on the market today that you would recommend someone wear when they are working out?

One of my favorite brands to recommend for people with sensitive skin is Vanicream. This is also gluten-free for my patients with gluten sensitivities and is fragrance-free.

I tend to favor La Roche Posay Anthelios lotion spray sunscreen for swimming as it is easy to reapply.


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